The Mama Syllabus 2

More links to amazing pregnancy, birth, and parenting stories!


My Brother’s Pregnancy and the Making of a New American Family
Time magazine

Writer Jessi Hemple tells the story of her brother Evan’s pregnancy. Sixteen years after he began his transition from female to male, Evan gave birth to a little boy (the photos of Evan chestfeeding are suuuuper cute), and Hemple uses Evan’s pregnancy and birth as an opportunity to explore how this generation’s trans Americans are entering the domestic domain. There’s an especially lovely section about the seahorses that decorate the baby’s onesies: “It has become Evan’s emblem, because like my brother, the male sea horse gives birth after carrying eggs in a protective pouch on his belly. A sea horse’s masculinity is not threatened by gestation; it is reinforced by it.” I MEAN.

The Struggle of the Introverted Mother
Scary Mommy blog

IT ME. In case this is your first day: introverts are not people who avoid parties and are only happy when they’re reading in a corner curled around a cat (although some of them are, which is fine). Introverts are people who recharge their essential energy by being alone. And what happens when you introduce a baby into an introvert’s life? Let’s just say that most newborns are not interested in how you recharge. So getting through the day, swimming from nap island to nap island, takes a lot of energy when you have this high-needs creature barnacled onto you 24/7. This piece offers very little advice on parenting while introverted. It’s more of a solidarity fist, which can be useful when everyone else is enjoying your little person so much and all you can think is “43 minutes to nap time!”

The Good Enough Parent is the Best Parent
Psychology Today

This is a long article but basically the gist of it is: fuck-ups happen and it doesn’t have to be anyone’s fault (a radical idea if you tend towards perfectionism); meet your kids where they are right now and don’t worry too much about how they’re turning out; rely more on parenting advice from people who know your kids and less on one-size-fits-all ideologies or gurus; focus your energies on being empathetic and kind to your kids; and for the love of god, just chill out, you’re doing fine. Let’s say it again for the people in the back: YOU’RE DOING FINE. Nobody needs to be 100% amazing at anything, parenting included.

Outdoor Families are Happier Families

Immediately after giving birth to NS, I spend a few weeks wrapped in an elaborate fantasy: we would move to a patch of land, build an off-the-grid housing complex for us and all our friends, and begin our new lives as subsistence farmers, digital nomads, and co-housing community members. I even drew floor plans, that’s how ready I was. I had—have—this deep, visceral need to connect more with nature, to spend more time in places that haven’t been groomed and park-ified to within an inch of its life. I adore Toronto, but since having a baby, I’ve come to see just how inhospitable cities can be to families. Since one of the highlights of my day is my morning walk with NS. We look at flowers, dogs, and the leaves rustling in the wind. Why would I not want that writ large?

5 Rules for Hosting a Crappy Dinner Party (and Seeing Your Friends More Often)

You know what I miss? I miss being able to say, “Fuck it, I know I’ve got a project due at work tomorrow and I need to do laundry, but I really just want to see my buddy and drink a beer,” and then leaving my house and meeting a friend. Having kids can feel like you’ve chained yourself to one of those big earth-movers at an environmental protest, except that the earth-mover is your baby and the protest is your house. More than almost any other aspect of my pre-baby life, I miss the flexibility of seeing friends on a whim, because my default was always going out into the world, not having people over. I mean, why would I want people to come over and see my crusty toilet and my empty fridge? But this is the season of my life where going out after 7 PM is this whimsical luxury, and having a scrubbed house is a laughable dream, so if I want to see people, I need to start inviting them over and just giving no fucks about the state of my house. Good-enough hospitality sometimes means Doritos and custard tarts from the Portuguese bakery, it sometimes means someone else brings dinner (which happens for us and it is amazing), it means not worrying about the toys in the front room or the high chair in the corner. It means reaching out and saying, “Hey, I know we usually go out, but how would you feel about coming over and just chilling with me and a bowl of pretzels?”


About the Author

Kaitlyn Kochany
Author with 77 posts
More about Kaitlyn Kochany

Kaitlyn Kochany is a Toronto-area freelance writer and editor. She had her son, NS, in January 2016, and has been trying to sleep and write since then.

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